Understanding Anaerobic Power and How it Can be Translated to On-Ice Performance – Evidence Based Research

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“Off-Ice Anaerobic Power Does Not Predict On-Ice Repeated Shift Performance in Hockey”

Anaerobic literally means “without oxygen.” Abrupt power moves such as jumping, fast spinning or quick moving muscles to rely on stored energy that is accessible instantly without the need for oxygen. Lactic acid, a metabolic left-over, is created quicker than it can be detached resulting in a buildup in the functioning muscles and the all-popular soreness, fatigue and “burn” sets in.

Brady Tkachuk completes the Wingate cycle test during the NHL Scouting Combine on June 2, 2018 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. (Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Without getting too in depth in the science, the anaerobic system entails of two sub-systems: “instantaneous” ATP-CP and “short-term” glycolysis. ATP-CP or phosphagan arrangement is the immediate anaerobic system that uses high-energy phosphates that are stowed away in the muscles as “gasoline” for the first 10 seconds of maximal effort. If your intensity is high but not at its max, the system can supply energy for up the first 30 seconds of exercise.

Glycolysis is the short-term, or brief, anaerobic system that results in that awful lactic acid build-up that we all hate. This is the key energy foundation for the 10-60 seconds of “all out” exercise, as well as small spurts of high intensity exercise entrenched within a longer workout that fully utilizes oxycodone, also known as aerobic exercise.

Now, if this intensity portion of your performance is high but not maximal, this system can supply energy for 90-120 seconds — at max!

An important factor of success in team sports is a player’s ability to increase speed quickly. The athlete that is faster to the puck or faster off the line will often beat their opponent, giving him or her the gain. Scientists have acknowledged anaerobic (without oxygen) power as a key factor in foreseeing team sport athlete’s quickness and acceleration on the ice.

Due to the struggle in calculating these variables during a game, scientists have traditionally relied on research laboratory experiments to measure anaerobic power. These measures have included the standing long jump, triple jump, vertical jump (VJ), 10-yd sprint, 20-yd sprint and Wingate tests. Although this list provides an excess of possibilities for athletes and coaches, these methods do not connect to performance equally across all sports. By itself, each individual sport involves its own sport-specific investigation to figure out which tests have the peak reflection from the testing field to the playing field.

Filip Zadina completes the Wingate cycle test during the NHL Scouting Combine on June 2, 2018 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. (Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In ice hockey, anaerobic power development has typically been assessed by the vertical jump and 30-second Wingate tests. Current studies, nonetheless, have brought into question the legitimacy of these tests as a judge of on-ice swiftness and acceleration.

Additionally, although previous work has shown these tests to relate with on-ice acceleration and speed performed as a single stretch, neither has been assessed to decide whether they are predictors of performance on the ice. This conflict has led to a void in the research that prevents coaches and athletes at all levels from making systematically based judgments concerning the means of gauging and preparing the athletes.

Jack Drury completes the long jump test during the NHL Scouting Combine on June 2, 2018 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Appreciating how off-ice anaerobic power will aid coaches and athletes use the best tool when testing and designing a program for their players. ​

Written by James Stavitz, MS, ATC/L, ROT, OPE-C
Athletic Trainer/Physician Extender; University Orthopaedic Associates
Professor of Athletic Training and Sports Medicine; East Stroudsburg University
Doctoral Candidate; Health Science; Seton Hall University

 

Main Image: Brady Tkachuk (127) completes the Wingate cycle test during the NHL Scouting Combine on June 2, 2018 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. (Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

References

Anaerobic Training. (2013). Retrieved from https://icedynamics.net/anaerobic-training

Behm DG, Wahl MJ, Button DC, Power KE, Anderson KG. Relationship between hockey
skating speed and selected performance measures. J Strength Cond Res 19: 326–331, 2005

Farlinger CM, Kruisselbrink LD, Fowles JR. Relationships to skating performance in
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Mascaro T, Seaver BL, Swanson L. Prediction of skating speed with off-ice testing in
professional hockey players. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 15: 92–98, 1992.

Peterson, B. J., Fitzgerald, J. S., Dietz, C. C., Ziegler, K. S., Baker, S. E., & Snyder, E. M.
(2016). Off-Ice Anaerobic Power Does Not Predict On-Ice Repeated Shift Performance in
Hockey. Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research , 30 (9), 2375-2381.

Pienaar C, Coetzee B. Changes in selected physical, motor performance and anthropometric
components of university-level rugby players after one microcycle of a combined rugby
conditioning and plyometric training program. J Strength Cond Res 27: 398–415, 2013.

Watson RC, Sargeant TL. Laboratory and on-ice test comparisons of anaerobic power of ice
hockey players. Can J Appl Sport Sci 11: 218–224, 1986.

 

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